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Mol Microbiol. 2010 Aug;77(4):958-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2010.07264.x. Epub 2010 Jun 21.

The RNA degradosome in Bacillus subtilis: identification of CshA as the major RNA helicase in the multiprotein complex.

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Department of General Microbiology, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Grisebachstr. 8, D-37077 Göttingen, Germany.


In most organisms, dedicated multiprotein complexes, called exosome or RNA degradosome, carry out RNA degradation and processing. In addition to varying exoribonucleases or endoribonucleases, most of these complexes contain a RNA helicase. In the Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis, a RNA degradosome has recently been described; however, no RNA helicase was identified. In this work, we tested the interaction of the four DEAD box RNA helicases encoded in the B. subtilis genome with the RNA degradosome components. One of these helicases, CshA, is able to interact with several of the degradosome proteins, i.e. RNase Y, the polynucleotide phosphorylase, and the glycolytic enzymes enolase and phosphofructokinase. The determination of in vivo protein-protein interactions revealed that CshA is indeed present in a complex with polynucleotide phosphorylase. CshA is composed of two RecA-like domains that are found in all DEAD box RNA helicases and a C-terminal domain that is present in some members of this protein family. An analysis of the contribution of the individual domains of CshA revealed that the C-terminal domain is crucial both for dimerization of CshA and for all interactions with components of the RNA degradosome, including RNase Y. A transfer of this domain to CshB allowed the resulting chimeric protein to interact with RNase Y suggesting that this domain confers interaction specificity. As a degradosome component, CshA is present in the cell in similar amounts under all conditions. Taken together, our results suggest that CshA is the functional equivalent of the RhlB helicase of the Escherichia coli RNA degradosome.

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